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    R1a and Corded Ware

    Quote Originally Posted by Jean M View Post
    Its present distribution is reminiscent of the Battle Axe Cultures, is it not? Linguistically that would partly fit with waves of IE spreading up river from the Middle Dnieper into Fatyanovo (3200 BC-2300 BC) and then up to the Baltic, gradually spreading the Baltic family, but thinly.
    It will depend on your definition of the Battle-Axe cultures. If you see it as just one of the alternative names for the entire Corded Ware culture (or CW horizon), I would partially agree with that. I say “partially” just in case one would suspect that I suggest that Z280 was associated with all subgroupings of CW, which I find rather unlikely.

    However, many people use the “Battle-Axe” term to distinguish the specific Scandinavian variety of CW, so in such case I would rather exclude Z280 from such group of potential BA founders.

    Let’s assume that R1a (mostly R1a-M417, and especially R1a-Z283) was strongly associated with the birth and expansion of the Corded Ware culture (although we still lack a definite proof for this assumption). Here is a good map that I have found in the internet (although I don’t know its original source):

    Corded Ware map.jpg

    Under the assumption that there was a strong relationship between CW and R1a, I would expect that some specific (local) varieties of the CW horizon were associated with different early branches of R1a. For example, the only branch of R1a that could have represented the Scandinavian (Battle-Axe) variety of CW was definitely Z284. Also, it seems likely that the distinctive North-Western variety of CW, frequently named “Single-Grave”, has likely been associated with the CTS4385 subclade of R1a-M417 that could have included not only the ancestors of the L664 lineage, but also the distinctive STR haplotype found in Eulau that resembles the haplotypes of the contemporary Leavitt/Stead lineage (found in Britain but suspected of Norman origin).

    The “typical” (or “classical”) form of CW, as shown on the above map, was seen on a large territory stretching from SW Germany through Bohemia, Poland, part of Ukraine, part of Belarus and the Baltic countries. I would suspect that these were mostly some very rare European Z283*/Z282* lineages (clusters 3.A, 3.B1 and 3.B2 in our project) and the Z280 clade, including its rare Western European non-Z92 and non-CTS1211 subclusters 5.A and 5.B (including subclusters 5.B1, 5.B2 and 5.B3 that are probably only very distantly related to each other). The ancestors of the two major subclades of Z280 (CTS1211 and Z92) could have lived in a region encompassing the Eastern part of Poland, Northern Belarus and the Baltic countries, and I would suspect that the initial expansion of those two subclades was associated with the subsequent expansion of the so-called Trzciniec horizon that included the Trzciniec, East Trzciniec, Komarovo and Sosnica cultures (all considered to be CW-derived).

    The major problem I have with assigning particular early branches of R1a to some exact locations in Europe is related to the M458 and Z93 branches. It seems likely that both of them were initially associated with Eastern Europe, but it is very difficult to provide just one scenario that could be considered most likely.

    In the case of M458, I would agree with your suggestion that this clade was born (or at least has initially settled) somewhere in (Southern?) Belarus. i would also assume that they survived the entire Bronze Age (and most of the Iron Age) by staying at this single location (thus taking no part in any significant cultural expansions and population movements in Central Europe that preceded the Slavic expansion in the first millennium AD). However, the presence of some very unusual M458 haplotypes (reported by Underhill) in the Caucasian region and the recent finding of our admin team that most of the Sardinian members of M458 do not seem to belong to any of the two major subclades of M458 (i.e. L260 or CTS11962), makes the whole situation very enigmatic.

    Finally, the question of Z93 in this context is also very complex. Assuming that CW was associated not only with the large branch Z283/Z282 but also with their more distantly related cousins from the CTS4385 branch, it seems natural to assume some participation of Z93 in the Eastern European varieties of CW, like Fatyanovo-Balanovo. This would have led to their subsequent involvement in the Abashevo culture and then to their significant (or dominant) contribution to Andronovo. However, as I have already written in another thread, this scenario would almost completely disconnect Z93 from the Late Yamna culture (including Poltavka that very strongly contributed to Andronovo). Therefore, we need to consider an alternative scenario in which Z93 was rather represented by a significant (Eastern) part of the large (and quite diversified) Yamna horizon (marked as "Ocher Grave" on the above map), while Fatyanovo-Balanovo were rather associated with some nearly extinct subclades of Z283/2 or with some Eastern subclades of Z280.

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